A Cartoon of Mahler



Lieder und Gesänge, vol. II

No. 10: Zu Straßburg auf der Schanz' – AF


F-Pgm/unknown location













  ? [F major/minor - B minor.]


  [c. 1894]


  Ink; bar lines freehand in ink


  a) 24 staves [not yet examined]

b) 24 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 348 x 266 (r=306)

Manuscript structure and collation

  a) 1 folio: bb. 1–15

b) 1 folio: 1r = bb. 16–22; 1v = blank



a) Ali Rosé[?]; now part of the Collection de La Grange-Fleuret, Foundation de France (on deposit at the Médiatèque Musicale Mahler)

b) Offered for sale at Sotheby's, 4 December 2007, lot 75 (not sold); again on 15 May 2008, lot 70


  a) none located; b) 1r: Sotheby's Catalogue for 4 December 2007, lot 75 (p. 74)

Select Bibliography

  a) HLG1, 764; FDLG, 3; b) Sotheby's Catalogues, 4 December 2007, p. 75 and 15 May 2008, p. 31



For many years the only portion of this apparently unfinished orchestration of the song was the sheet owned by Henry-Louis de La Grange (this has not yet been examined). The paper of (b) is of a type used in some manuscripts of the Second Symphony, which hints that this orchestration may date from the Hamburg period, although de La Grange was of the opinion that the orchestration was begun in late 1905 in connection with plans for a recital of Mahler songs in Berlin, by Johannes Messchaert. Initially Mahler hoped that these would be given with orchestra, but this was economically unviable, and Mahler agreed to accompany Messchaert on the piano (see HLGIII, 600–01; and the separate note in this catalogue). The orchestration is at the pitch of the published low-voice edition.

If the Berlin concert was not what prompted this unfinished orchestration, it is not clear what other external factor might have occasioned the arrangement, although certainly the scale of the song might have suggested that it would also work with an orchestral accompaniment. On the other hand, it is tempting to wonder whether it was in any way connected with Mahler's short-lived and abortive ideas for an opera developed c.1888, in which a young soldier is condemned to death. The song could certainly function in such a dramatic context, and according to Natalie Bauer-Lechner (NBL2, 190; NBLE, 170–1), Mahler did indicate that he was planning to use a Wunderhorn text in the work. However, her memoir refers to an entirely different, and later song:

„Der Schildwache Nachtlied‟ blieb als erster Versuch davon übrig, dem Mahler wieder sein Bekanntschaft mit „Des Knaben Wunderhorn‟ verdankte, die für ihn so bedeutsam wurde.

Der Schildwache Nachtlied remains as the best draft from it, to which Mahler owed his renewed acquaintance with Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which was to become so significant for him.

Perhaps either Mahler or Bauer-Lechner mis-rembered which song was to have been included in the opera.

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© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 23 October 2021